Common Threads is a publication of 7-10 poems by Massachusetts poets chosen by a Massachusetts poet, with a guide to reading and discussing the poems, videos of the poems being read (by the poets themselves when possible), and outreach to libraries, senior centers, book clubs, and more, to facilitate ~350 poetry discussion groups throughout the state in an effort to broaden the audience for poetry.

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Common Threads


Common Threads 2018
Guest Editor: Alan Feldman
$10 Hardcopy Free PDF
Media Package

Let us know about your Common Threads event

Ask a poet to help facilitate your group

About this year’s theme, Born to Be Lonely: Massachusetts Poets on Connection and Disconnection

“It seems that I’m interested in the tension between a desire for loneliness and a need for connection with others. “I am lonely, lonely / I was born to be lonely / I am best so” sings William Carlos Williams in “Danse Russe,” dancing naked in his attic-study while his wife and the baby are downstairs. Since I’m a grandfather now, I can tell you with some authority that we come out of the box pretty much as the people we’re going to be. So perhaps because of something inherent in me, we could look at these poems as being about connection and disconnection.” – Alan Feldman, 2018 Guest Editor

Alan Feldman is the author of Immortality, which was awarded the 2016 Massachusetts Book Award for Poetry, and The Golden Coin, forthcoming in March 2018. He is professor emeritus and past chair of English at Framingham State University, and for 22 years taught the advanced creative writing class at Harvard University's Radcliffe Seminars. He offers free, drop-in poetry workshops at the Framingham, MA, public library near his home, and in the summer at the Wellfleet library.


1)    “Billy in the Darbies” by Herman Melville
2)    “Her Kind” by Anne Sexton
3)    “Talking in the Woods with Karl Amorelli” by Etheridge Knight
4)    “Bird Swerves” by Linda Bamber
5)    “What the Living Do” by Marie Howe
6)    “Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper” by Martín Espada
7)    “Ivan Ilyich at the Lake” by Jeffrey Harrison
8)    “How to Love” by January Gill O’Neil 

Take part in a Common Threads Event

Check back periodically or sign up to receive our newsletter for news on Common Threads events in your area! 

Interested in hosting an event? If you know your event plans, submit the details to our statewide calendar and it will appear here. If you have questions about hosting or would like a poet to partner with you on hosting an event, email




Want to host an event but aren't sure where to begin? Check out Guest Editor Alan Feldman's tips on hosting a discussion group, or watch the full launch event from February 2018!

(videos courtesy of Emerson Productions





Reach out to your local Council on Aging or Library about hosting an event! Many have already expressed interest!


Past Events

Amherst, MA: February 8, 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Hosted by The Emily Dickinson Museum as part of Amherst Winterfest

Boston, MA: February 22, 5:00 - 8:00 pm
Launch Event hosted by Guest Editor Alan Feldman at Grub Street

Wellfleet, MA: March 21, 5:00 - 7:00 pm
Hosted by Common Threads Advisory Committee Member Rosalind Pace

Westborough, MA: April 3, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Hosted at the Westborough Public Library

Brookline, MA: April 5, 12:00 - 1:30 pm
Hosted by A Taste of Poetry

Marlborough, MA: April 6, 3:15 - 4:45 pm
Hosted at The Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education NETWORK 2018 Conference

Yarmouth, MA: April 7, 2:00 - 3:00 pm
Hosted by Alice Kociemba

Leverett, MA: April 8, 3:00 - 5:00 pm
Hosted by Regional Representative Janet MacFadyen

Bourne, MA: April 10, 6:30 pm
Hosted by Former Guest Editor Alice Kociemba at the Jonathan Bourne Public Library

Tewksbury, MA: April 11, 1:30 - 3:00 pm
Hosted by
Diane Giarrusso

Worcester, MA: April 11, 7:00 pm
Hosted by the Worcester County Poetry Association

Boston, MA: April 19, 3:00 pm
Hosted at The Boston Public Library - West End Branch

Worcester, MA: April 25, 7:00 pm
Hosted by the Worcester County Poetry Association

Amherst, MA: April 26, 5:00 - 6:30pm
Hosted at The Emily Dickinson Museum

Lee, MA: April 26, 5:30 - 7 pm
Hosted by Regional Representative Zara Raab

Ipswich, MA: April 28
Hosted by Ipswich Poetry Group and the Ipswich Public Library

Orleans, MA: April 28, 1 – 3 pm
Hosted by Regional Representative Barry Hellman

Attleboro, MA: May 2, 7:00 pm
Hosted by contributor Jeffrey Harrison at the Attleboro Public Library

Holyoke, MA: May 6
Hosted by Regional Representative Adam Grabowski, PoeMás, and Attack Bear Press in partnership with the iCollective

Fitchburg, MA: May 8, 3:30 - 5:30 pm
Hosted by Regional Representative DeMisty Bellinger-Delfield

Falmouth, MA: May 11, 1:00 - 2:30
Hosted by Former Common Threads Guest Editor Alice Kociemba

Framingham, MA: May 14, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Hosted by Common Threads committee member Jeanne Kelley

Rockport, MA: May 17, 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Hosted by Suellen Wedmore

Boston, MA: May 17, 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Hosted by Erica Charis-Molling

Roslindale, MA: June 5, 7:00 pm
Hosted by Rozzie Reads

Truro, MA: June 12, 6:30 - 8:30
Hosted by Rosalind Pace

Programming support & other links:

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Boston Cultural Council, a local agency which is funded by the Mass Cultural Council, and administered by the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture.

Past issues:


Common Threads 2016
Guest Editor: Alice Kociemba
$10 Hardcopy Free PDF
Media Package

"This edition of Common Threads explores threshold moments—those boundaries between ourselves and others, the past and the present, what we perceive and what is. These poems show that, by crossing those thresholds and telling the stories, we enter new realizations and understandings, which in turn lead to transformation—the astonished discovery that we are all part of the greater whole, a connected universe." - Alice Kociemba, Guest Editor


1) "O Taste and See" by Denise Levertov
2) "Chanson on the Red Line" by Susan Donnelly
3) "The Terrible Memory" by Alan Feldman
4) "Incident" by Natasha Trethewey
5) "The List Grows" by Danielle Legros Georges
6) "The House Remembers" by Robert Francis
7) "St. Kevin and the Blackbird" by Seamus Heaney

Common Threads 2015
Guest Editor: Alice Kociemba
$10 Hardcopy | Free PDF
Media Package

"The overarching theme of this fifth edition of Common Threads is love—a reverence for life and a zest for living that is intensified at moments of birth and death, the cherishing of one’s birthplace and the longing for what has been left behind, a passion for peace and respect for poetry itself as witness, and finally, the precious and precarious beauty of nature. Each of these eight poems reveals love’s common threads." - Alice Kociemba, Guest Editor


1) “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World” by Richard Wilbur
2) “The Birthing” by Deborah Digges
3) “For the Man Who Spun Plates” by John Hodgen
4) “Prospective Immigrants Please Note” by Adrienne Rich
5) “On Hearing My Name Pronounced Correctly, Unexpectedly, for Once” by Rhina P. Espaillat
6) “The Salt Stronger” by Fred Marchant
7) “Sea Grapes” by Derek Walcott
8) “The Osprey” by Mary Oliver


Common Threads 2014
Guest Editor: Lisa Olstein
$10 Hardcopy | Free PDF
Media Package


1. “Late Air” by Elizabeth Bishop
2. “Syntax" by Jorie Graham
3. “spring is like a perhaps hand” by E. E. Cummings
4. “Poppies in October” by Sylvia Plath
5. “Or” by Thomas Sayers Ellis
6. "An American Poem" by Eileen Myles
7. “Lullaby” by Peter Gizzi
8. “Halley’s Comet" by Stanley Kunitz
9. “Resume" by Agha Shahid Ali
10. “For the Graduation” by Robert Creeley

Common Threads 2013
Guest Editor: Jill McDonough
$10 Hardcopy | Free PDF
Media Package


1. “Leaves” by Lloyd Schwartz
2. “Leaves” by Afaa Michael Weaver
3. “To Whom It May Concern” by Andrea Cohen
4. “White Paper 38” by Martha Collins
5. “What to Tweak” by Patricia Smith
6. “Cherishing What Isn’t” by Jack Gilbert
7. “To a Strayed Cat” by Stephen Jonas
8. “Tuggin’” by Matt W. Miller
9. “Range-Finding” by Robert Frost
10. “Autobiographia Literaria”  by Frank O’Hara

Common Threads 2012 Edited/Compiled by: Morie Deykute & Kevin R. Morrissette
$10 HardcopyFree PDF
Media Package


  1. "The Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet
  2. No. 1129 - "Tell all the Truth but tell it slant" by Emily Dickinson
  3. "The Fire of Drift-Wood" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  4. "For the Union Dead" by Robert Lowell
  5. "Horseface" by Sam Cornish
  6. "if see no end in is" by Frank Bidart
  7. "Baseball" by Gail Mazur
  8. "Out at Plansville" by David Ferry
  9. "The Hardness Scale" by Joyce Peseroff

Common Threads 2011
Edited/Compiled by: S. D. MullaneyKevin R. Morrissette
$10 Hardcopy | Free PDF


  1. "In the Waiting Room" by Elizabeth Bishop
  2. "Samurai Song" by Robert Pinsky
  3. "The Lost Pilot" by James Tate
  4. "Occupation" by Suji Kwock Kim
  5. "Vita Nova" by Louise Glück
  6. "Love Song: I and Thou" by Alan Dugan
  7. "New England Ode" by Kevin Young


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Become a sponsor today or email Sara Siegel at for more information. Payments can be made via PayPal (to or via check (made out to Mass Poetry, mailed to 15 Channel Center Street, Suite 103, Boston MA 02210).

Program Support
To support the annual Common Threads publication, media package, outreach, and events, Mass Poetry encourages gifts at the following levels:
• Friend: $100
• Co-sponsor: $250
• Sponsor: $500
• Co-chair: $1,000 

Supporters will be honored by acknowledgement in the publication and on signage at the Common Threads event at the Mass Poetry Festival.